WLH gladly welcomes back Duckman to the site, it's been a long time brother but we're glad you're back
Holy fuck balls it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these! Just give me a second to get my reference points sorted out. Bill Hicks jokes? Check. Lines from The Simpsons? Check. Jim Cornette’s opinions on wrestling? Check. Right then, where the fuck was I? Oh yeah, WRESTLING!!
Excuse my horrendous language that will no doubt permeate through this article like a fart in an elevator. I’ve been watching back to back episodes of the wonderfully fucked up show Dexter for the last few days and I’ve picked up some bad habits from the heroically foul mouthed character Debra Morgan. So if you’re one of those people that is easily offended by bad language or rude metaphors then this really isn’t the place for you. For the rest of you still here, let’s fucking do this shit!
That’s right Duckman is back on Wrestling’s Last Hope after far too long away due to personal reasons (I was negotiating Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE. You’ve got no idea how many brown M&Ms I had to find to keep that big dope happy) but just like Eric Cuntoff’s amazing music used to remind us every week on Raw, “I’m back and better than ever.” And just like Eric Cuntoff used to do on Raw every week it’s time for some HLA!!! That’s right HOT LESNAR ACTION!!
Actually I’m just cock teasing you. We’ll get to Brock shortly. First, I’m going to wrap up all my opinions on Wrestlemania and the aftermath (hence the title of the article) in a few short paragraphs. Although anyone who has read my work before will know that I never do anything in a few short paragraphs. I’m like a Gabe Sapolsky ROH show – there is just no fucking way I’m going to hit my time cues. No. Fucking. Way.
Anyone else feel like Wrestlemania 28 was about a year ago? Yeah, me too. Seems like a lot has happened in a short space of time. It’s actually only been 26 days. Or as I like to call it, “half a Bourne.” That’s right, wellness policy violation joke right off the bat! BOOM mother fuckers! Ah it’s good to be back. I’m sure you’ve all had more than enough Wrestlemania opinion and reviews over the last 26 days. So I’ll try to keep this as snappy as possible while still getting my Mania experience for this year out of my system. I need to share.
I was able to continue the tradition of going to my younger brother’s house to watch Mania this year. He lives on the other side of the country from me and I don’t get to see him nearly enough these days. So Mania has become a great event for us to watch together and catch up on all the usually brotherly bullshit we need to catch up on. It’s awesome and a tradition we’ll probably continue for as long as we’re both still watching wrestling.
To say we were excited at the prospects of the show would be like saying Lindsay Lohan occasionally enjoys a tipple or two. We were fucking hyped and ready for the biggest wrestling show of the year. I should point out I’m 31 and my brother is 28 (with a son – more on him later) and yet I’m sure our excited squeaks every time we spoke about the show before it kicked off would be more akin to the noises you’d hear from the front row of a Justin Bieber gig. As opposed to the noise you hear from the back row of a Justin Bieber gig – namely me loading my sniper rifle.
By the way, I’m so out of touch I don’t even know if it’s still cool to make fun of Bieber anymore. If there is a new target for sarcastic and jaded Generation Xers like me to make fun of, please let me know.
I mentioned my brother has a son, he’s called Owen but they spell it Eoin. Why? Because it’s important to ensure you confuse as many people as possible with the spelling of your kid’s name these days. One of my Mum’s friend’s basically spelt his name ‘Onion’ on his first birthday card. A great effort but waaay off the mark. In all seriousness the spelling of his name is Gaelic or some other mystical long forgotten language like fucking Elvish or something. Anyway, he’s my nephew, he’s 15 months old and he’s the coolest fucking kid in the world. FACT.
The only problem we had was looking after the wee man and being able to watch Mania in one sitting. As those of you who have kids will know, this proved impossible and so for the first time ever I watched Wrestlemania in instalments. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it meant we had time to discuss the show in stages, enjoy the copious amount of munchies we’d bought for the show and have a regular smoke break.
Let me set the scene: It’s Monday afternoon. All computers and phones have been switched off to avoid spoilers from the show when it aired live the night before. Duckman, his brother and nephew were primed for 4 hours (which turned into 6 due to instalments) of ‘the very best of Americana’ (Michael Cole actually called Mania that last year and I was hoping for some kind of repeat but unfortunately he chickened out). Snacks consisted of bad ass hot dogs, southern fried chicken pieces, chips, dips and other assorted junk food wonderfulness. We were happy as three little pigs in shit. And then it happened…you all know what I’m talking about. It took 18 seconds and pissed off the entire world in the process.
I won’t dwell on our reactions to all the matches in too much detail but I will never - and the Duck means NEVER - forget the look of absolute soul crushing disappointment on my brother’s face after the Daniel Bryan/Sheamus ‘match’ – one of the matches he and I were most looking forward too. We literally did that ‘huh, what the fuck?’ double take look at each other that you normally only see in Laurel and Hardy movies. All we could think was, “they’ve ruined Wrestlemania with the opening match.” Then I cried, then my brother cried, then Eoin laughed, he’s such a little trooper…
In all honesty we were fucking PISSED. I’m sure you were too. The dudes in the front row with the ‘YES’ signs looked like they were going to tear one of those giant palm trees down, charge backstage and ram it straight up Vince’s ass. 26 days have now passed and you know something? All that ‘match’ seems to have done is make Daniel Bryan THE MOST OVER GUY IN WWE! And I’m perfectly fucking happy with that. YES, YES, YES!
The crowd’s reaction to him on the post Mania episode of Raw was one of the greatest vocal middle fingers to Vince McMahon I’ve ever seen. Second only to the ‘DIE BATISTA DIE’ chants the original ECW fans unleashed when they ran a re-booted ECW house show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York that Big Dave main evented. Vince didn’t understand that crowd and from the way Bryan was booked on Mania, he didn’t understand that one either.
Let’s just hope they continue to allow Bryan to grow into the main event star anyone with half a fucking brain knew he could become in WWE if given a chance. Extreme Rules should make up for the 18 second bullshit. His 2/3 falls match with Sheamus will be something special I’m sure. On a side note it’s amazing how less over Sheamus is now. Winning the Rumble and winning the World Title in 18 seconds has done less than nothing for his heat. Then again when you’re as poorly booked as he’s been it’s no wonder. Remember when Sheamus used to seem like a special personality? Yeah…the fuck happened there?
Ok, let’s rattle through the rest of Wrestlemania with some highs and lows, otherwise we’ll be here all day:
HIGH – CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. A wrestling match. A fucking good wrestling match. At Wrestlemania. With a fucking cool wrestling match finish. LOVED IT.
LOW – Kane and Randy Orton. If these two fucks were in any lower of a gear they’d have gone in reverse. Plus it felt like it went on for an hour and we were still fuming after Bryan/Sheamus. Live crowd loved it for some reason. I’m assuming drugs and alcohol must have been involved.
LOW – Any backstage segment. They all fucking sucked. Especially the one with that ginger skinny guy getting fucking OWNED by that rapper on roids. I had no idea who any of those people were and thus it annoyed the fuck out of me.
HIGH – My nephew with a Dorito in each hand, discovering the wonder of nacho cheese dip, while simultaneously dancing to HBK’s theme music. I love that kid.
LOW – Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy. The perfect example of WWE’s complete and utter failure to create new stars in recent years. There was no more evidence needed of why they had to rely on bringing in Rock, Taker, HHH and HBK to save this show than this match. No one is over in WWE bar about 4 guys these days. What a parade of useless fucking jobbers. The battle of the stop/start pushes. I also marked this fucking mess down because they promised Teddy Long would be gone and the little Mole Man looking mother fucker is still on my TV EVERY WEEK.
LOW – Diva’s tag match. Some celebrity chick who had more injuries than Mick Foley after Hell in the Cell ’98 pins the WWE Woman’s Champion? On the biggest show of the year? Ah WWE logic how I love thee. Plus the match seemed to be worked in slow motion. Bonus point for Beth Phoenix’s ri-cock-ulous pre match head gear.
HIGH – The crowd. These guys made the show for me. They reacted big to the big matches and brought everything up a level. Plus they were just having SO much fun. I have never been more insanely jealous of a wrestling crowd in my entire life.
HIGH – Cena vs. Rock. I liked it. I liked how into things people were. I liked seeing the Rock back. I liked watching Cena nearly fucking decapitate Rock with that leg drop off the top. I liked the finish that sent everyone home happy. Despite the match going 30 plus minutes it still felt a week shorter than Orton and Kane.
HIGH – Zak Ryder being kicked in the balls by Eve for no apparent reason. I can hear Vince backstage at that exact moment, “Well if those fucking pencil necked geeks on the internet were upset with Bryan getting butt fucked in the opener, wait till they see what my bottom bitch does to their You Tube hero. FUCK YOU!” This actually made me enjoy the spot even more. There has never been a bigger loser in WWE than Zak Ryder. Booked into fucking geek oblivion. That’ll teach you to get over without the WWE system.
HIGH – Hell in the Cell with Jim Ross back on commentary. WWE main event drama of the highest order. While I’m a huge fan of work rate and ROH style wrestling I am a sucker for a fucking great storyline, veteran workers and the kind of match that just sends fucking shivers down your spine. Sure they spent a lot of time selling and probably hit about 5 moves each in the whole match, but come the fuck on – that was a fucking awesome match. They worked that crowd expertly and had so much history to fall back on. They even almost made me a believer with the perfect superkick/pedigree near fall spot. The finish was perfect. The image of the three of them helping each other up the ramp and to the back was perfect. Also, keep in mind that this angle has actually been going for the last 4 Wrestlemania’s and we’ve had 4 killer matches from them. The perfect end to an era we are all going to sorely miss.
When the show ended we were covered in Dorito crumbs, hotdog relish and a sense that we had seen a really fucking good show. Sure the first hour sucked a cock. But the top three matches more than made up for the clunky opening. Plus the real good time was had watching my nephew stuff his face just like his Dad and Uncle while watching Wrestlemania. He was dancing to all the rappers during that never ending concert they did for Rock/Cena’s entrances. The kid doesn’t stand a chance!
So that was my Wrestlemania 28 experience and I stayed at my brother’s until the next day so we could watch the follow up Raw together. We were still dark in terms of the internet so had no idea about the rumours that Brock Lesnar might be coming back. When the crowd were chanting during Cena’s promo we thought they were chanting, ‘we want wrestling.’ How wrong we were.
You know when you have one of those mark out moments in wrestling that just utterly confirms your heart felt love and passion for this weird ass quasi sport? We had a collective moment when Brock’s music hit that was one of those golden moments. The polar opposite of our reaction to Bryan/Sheamus the night before. I actually stood up out of my seat. My brother just did a brilliant impression of a fish with his mouth hanging open before hitting a Deb Morgan from Dexter special, ‘oh my holy fucking God fuck’ or something to that effect.
We were almost, but not quite, marking as hard as the dudes in the arena. We didn’t hug like some people were doing. I was thinking about doing that weird muscle pose roar that the skinny kid in the grey t-shirt was shown on camera doing but I pussied out. We then watched it again seven times in a row. I have never been so entertained by a large man furiously kicking a green baseball cap in my entire life.
Many will have written and will write about Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE. I’ll be one of them. As someone who massively lost interest in WWE and became a huge UFC fan over the last 6-7 years it’s just crazy to see Brock back in a WWE ring. It’s even crazier to hear them reference his UFC career and Heavyweight Title win. To me, it was the ONLY way they could have built on Wrestlemania and The Rock coming back and then leaving again. They needed something huge and Brock’s return and the way he returned was perfect. The whole situation throws up so many questions and possibilities and that’s what great wrestling angles or storylines should do.
It is weird though. It’s weird because bringing Brock back and constantly referring to his ‘legitimacy’ (which according to my thesaurus means real) sort of brands everything else about WWE as fake. Which it is, obviously. It just feels weird to hear them talk about it on TV so openly. Even going so far as to repeatedly show Brock’s total potato punch to Cena during their ridiculously awesome pull apart brawl a few weeks back on Raw. The visual of Cena with a busted mouth was complete money. They’re almost trying to get us to believe that Brock is this real, out of control ass kicker who hits guys for real. Unlike the rest of the bitches on the roster who only pretend.
I guess the worry some people may have is they’re exposing the business too much. Or sacrificing the rest of the roster for the sake of Brock. It’s a valid point until you think about all the countless other times WWE have exposed the business in recent years. Plus everyone is on the joke now so it’s not such a big deal. I would have personally played that side of things up even more. Maybe even use the old ‘will Brock do business the right way’ angle to get across the idea that he might not co-operate with Cena and might actually just beat the ever loving fuck out of him. Which is EXACTLY what should happen at Extreme Rules.
Brock Lesnar is a money drawing machine. He proved that in the UFC. He took a ton of WWE fans with him and given the ratings since he’s come back, they haven’t returned with him. Everyone in wrestling always talks about the money being in the build, not the actual match. The theory being the match is already set so it alone won’t draw but if the build to the match is right then the match will draw money. I’m not sure if Brock having his first match back inside 3 weeks of his return and against Cena no less is a money making build. Which is why I’ve got the feeling we’re going to see something different at Extreme Rules.
WWE have been playing up the idea that Cena is a bit fucked up after losing to Rock at Mania. He’s not as confident as he was. Granted this isn’t supported by Mr Happy-Go-Lucky-And-Fucking-Smirk-All-The-Time who hasn’t actually acted all that different since Mania. But that’s just a gaping plot hole and if you can’t deal with them in WWE you need to watch a different show.
Let’s say Cena is all unconfident and unsure and now he’s faced with Brock – the real killing machine, the man with fists the size of a Christmas ham and he’s not here to play nice or entertain, he’s here to fuck you up and hilariously kick your baseball cap away in disgust. Logic (and yes I know it’s dangerous to use that word when talking about WWE) dictates that Brock should come into Extreme Rules and absolutely fucking destroy Cena. In less than five minutes. He should beat his ass all over the ring. Smash him with some MMA styles moves. Then F-5 him into the mat and take the win. Shock, horror, something completely different. The monster kills the hero...or so we think.
Cena then needs to vanish off TV for at least a month, two would be good, three would be best to recover from his injuries and get his mo-jo back. In that time you run Brock through everyone. I’m talking Kane, Show, Orton, Punk, Jericho, RYDER (especially Ryder), the chicks who dance with Brodus Clay. Everyone. He needs to kill them all between now and Summerslam. He needs to be portrayed as someone different. Short matches. Violent, intense, unpredictable. No stupid segments with Santino. Basically the complete opposite of what they did when they had Goldberg.
Of course this leads to Cena coming back a month or two before Summerslam and challenging him to the return match and THEN the build can begin. Hell they could even do some stuff with Cena doing MMA training to counter Brock. That would be almost too funny. Then WWE can push Cena as the guy who has gone to the depths of hell and lost the biggest match of his career. Then been eaten alive by Brock. Before finally making his return and challenging the monster again at Summerslam and of course, being WWE, Cena gets his win back.
I don’t normally fantasy book but I can’t help it with this situation. Brock Lesnar can be a difference maker for WWE in terms of PPV buys. But they MUST give people a reason to watch him. If he just becomes another WWE ‘superstar’ cutting lame scripted promos and just being a heel it’s not going to work and he’s not going to make that difference. People pay to see Brock kick ass or to see him get his ass kicked (in the case of a lot of hardcore UFC fans) and if WWE don’t recognise this and strike while the iron is hot, then that $5 million he’s getting for the next year will be a waste of cash, time and effort.
Personally I’m highly intrigued to see how this all goes down. Despite promising I wouldn’t only pay for Mania, Summerslam and Royal Rumble from now on, I am going to pay for Extreme Rules. I’ll pay to see Brock Lesnar back in WWE. Once. The big test is going to be the follow up and whether or not WWE can build something of a new PPV audience on the back of Brock. He’s got to bring some old fans back to make a difference on the flat WWE PPV buy rates. They can only do that if the build surrounding him to the match is right.
I just hope they get it right because they’re sitting on a gold mine that could really bring more interest and publicity to their product. Plus if the feud is done correctly it could help John Cena rebuild from losing to Rock and help the fans see him in a different light. Shit, they might even stop booing him...yeah, ok, even Jesus couldn’t pull that one off!
So there we go, that’s my look at Wrestlemania and the aftermath with Brock’s big return. It’s nice to be back and hopefully normal regular articles from me will be resumed from now on. Keep supporting Wrestling’s Last Hope and be sure to keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for some news about the return of a certain podcast...
Thanks for reading. Until next time...